written and published by Nadia ten Hove

Photography by Frankie Casillo

The Berlin Atonal Festival made a dazzling return for its first weekend at Kraftwerk Berlin in September 2023, and it was nothing short of extraordinary.

With an extended 11-day schedule that covers two full weekends, the festival promised an immersive experience that bridges experimental music with progressive art. The first weekend did not disappoint, featuring an array of groundbreaking acts that left attendees in awe.

Here’s a recap of some of the standout acts from the first weekend:

Dame Area

Kicking off the weekend, Dame Area, hailing from Barcelona, took the stage and immediately set the tone with their unique “Tribal Wave” music style. Blending synth basslines, live percussion, industrial elements, and tribal influences, their performance was an otherworldly journey through sound.

Apeiron Crew

Apeiron Crew, consisting of members Solid Blake, Smokey, and Mama Snake, brought their distinctive take on angular techno, breaks, and Italo disco. After a hiatus, their reunion for this festival’s limited tour was a highly anticipated event. Their set was a high-energy journey that celebrated their 10-year anniversary, showcasing their growth as individual artists.

URIN

Berlin-based punk/d-beat/hardcore band URIN, known for their raw and experimental sound, delivered an electrifying performance. With influences from various genres and a commitment to pushing the boundaries of hardcore, their set was a testament to their relentless energy and unique approach to music.

DJ Stingray 313

DJ Stingray 313, the enigmatic figure in electronic music, took the audience on a sonic journey that transcended the ordinary. His fusion of electro, house, and techno was a masterclass in forward-thinking music that had the crowd moving and grooving.

Honour presents THE BLOOD (2TEARS & A $UCKET)

Honour’s presentation of THE BLOOD (2TEARS & A $UCKET) was a thought-provoking experience. Blending hip-hop with immersive visuals and abstract vocalizations, their performance challenged the audience to explore themes of love, death, and memory in a unique and captivating way.

Zebra Katz presents Less is Moor

Zebra Katz’s performance was a high-energy spectacle that showcased his multidisciplinary talent. With influences ranging from James Baldwin to Grace Jones, his music combined experimental elements with infectious beats, creating a performance that was both electrifying and thought-provoking.

Neu-Romancer

Australian musician Laura Bailey, known as Neu-Romancer, brought her eclectic style to the stage. Mixing genres like Dark Disco, Electro, EBM, Italo, and more, her performance added a playful yet dark dimension to the festival’s diverse lineup.

mu”he

Tokyo’s underground club scene found representation in mu”he, a highly-regarded DJ known for her multi-genre sets. Her ability to seamlessly transition between different styles, from techno to hardcore, created a dynamic and immersive dancefloor experience.

The first weekend of Berlin Atonal Festival 2023 was a testament to the festival’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of experimental art and music. It left attendees eagerly anticipating what the second weekend had in store, promising even more groundbreaking performances and artistic experiences.